New Year brings new judicial robes for three

| By: Charles Williams


Three more Notre Dame Law School graduates have ascended to the bench in Illinois, Minnesota, and Michigan.

First up was Mary Katherine Rochford, ND ’76, NDLS ’79, who was sworn in as a new judge on the Illinois Appellate Court, Appellate District 1, during an investiture ceremony at Notre Dame Law School. A trial judge since 1991, Judge Rochford previously served as chief assistant corporation counsel in the Appeals Division under Chicago Mayor Harold Washington.


Then, as his very last judicial appointment, Gov. Tim Pawlenty selected Minneapolis lawyer Lezlie Ott Marek, NDLS ’83, to fill a trial bench vacancy in Ramsey County, Minnesota. Judge Marek was one of the founding lawyers of the Hanson Marek Bolkcom Group in Minneapolis, where she was chief financial officer and a civil trial lawyer who practiced primarily in the areas of product liability defense and commercial litigation. Before that, she was an associate and partner with the law firm Bowman and Brooke.

Finally, up in Michigan, Mary Beth Kelly, NDLS ’87 was sworn in as a Michigan Supreme Court Justice on January 3. Before her election, Justice Kelly had served on the Wayne County Circuit Court for 11 years and practiced law as a commercial litigation partner at Dickinson Wright Moon VanDusen & Freeman before that. At Notre Dame, she served as managing editor for the Journal of Law, Ethics, and Public Policy.